The North Carolina women's basketball team fell to No. 17 Miami, 100-88, in Coral Gables, Fla., on Thursday night.
It was a game of runs, but the Hurricanes (15-5, 4-4 ACC) were able to put together a few more than the Tar Heels. UNC (12-9, 1-7 ACC) jumped out in front early, in large part because of hot shooting. A 12-for-18 performance from the floor in the first quarter gave the Tar Heels a slight 27-24 lead heading into the second period. But the outlook of the game wasn't steady even then, as the Hurricanes outrebounded the Tar Heels, 15-4, in the first quarter.
In the second, the Hurricanes continued to outrebound the Tar Heels, leading to a barrage of second-chance points for Miami. But with the slick shooting of Paris Kea — the redshirt sophomore had 18 points at halftime — UNC was able to tie the game at 44 heading into intermission tied.
From then on, it was all Miami. The Hurricanes used a 31-point third quarter to put the game out of reach for UNC.
Who stood out?
Paris Kea led the charge for the Tar Heels — especially in the opening quarter. Kea tallied 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the opening period of play. The Hurricanes were able to adjust and stymie her scoring moving forward, but Kea still finished with a game-high 26 points for UNC in the losing effort.
When was it decided?
While the Tar Heels battled throughout, it was the third period that downed North Carolina. Miami outscored UNC by 14 points in the third quarter, allowing the Hurricanes to stretch their lead to an insurmountable margin.
The Hurricanes finished with 45 rebounds, while North Carolina could only muster 23. The deficit in the paint could prove to be an issue moving forward, as much of ACC play will pit UNC against much taller opponents as the Tar Heels try to fill the void left by injured redshirt senior forward Hillary Fuller.
Why does it matter?
The loss gives the Tar Heels five straight losses and puts their ACC record at 1-7. North Carolina's quest to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014-15 has certainly taken a hit over the past few weeks. If UNC isn't able to overcome its size disadvantage and its habit of succumbing to game-changing quarters, the ACC Tournament might be the only path to postseason success.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels host N.C. State on Saturday at 3 p.m.
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